Star Wars’ Universe Problem

the Star Wars universeWith new movies, novels, comic books, and TV shows bearing the Star Wars brand, we fans now have a unique problem: How to Deal with Duel Universes. We have the canon universe and we have the “legends” universe.

On April 25th, 2014, Lucasfilm announced changes to the Star Wars canon. Officially, the only pieces of canon remaining were: the original trilogy films, the prequel trilogy films, the Clone Wars television series and film, the Star Wars Rebels series (and its supplementary material), “Star Wars Insider” fiction, beginning with “Blade Squadron” in Star Wars Insider 149, information found in the Databank, information previously found in the now-defunct Encyclopedia, and all officially-licensed source material released following the September 2, 2014 novel A New Dawn. This canon universe now includes The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and their supplemental material.

So how does the common fan continue enjoying the expanded universe, now known as Legends, and the new canon? It doesn’t require fracturing your mind into two distinct halves, each containing a sector of your memory within—don’t do that.

A Universe in both hands

However, it can still be difficult to appreciate the expanded universe when the new movies are now taking over. Likewise, watching the new movies and placing their events alongside what would be happening in the expanded universe. The EU has a great deal of incredible moments—Chewbacca’s emotional death, Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker’s romance, General Thrawn’s incredible brilliance—and we can still take inspiration and enjoyment from them.

We—as fans—must take joy in the things we have received.  We can still enjoy and cherish the EU, and certainly there is enough to last a lifetime if we want. Star Wars is a work of fiction, and it should be a small step from understanding the events did not actually happen to holding the distinct universes separate and enjoying both.

Just like for any piece of entertainment, mileage may very. There will be parts of either universe we may not like, but those parts don’t lower it below the other. A specific instance may show why one universe is bad, but it does not show why the other is better.

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Rogues: A History

Rogues emblemRogue One premieres in less than two months. Every Star Wars fan looks at their circled “December 16th” on the calendar with increasing glee. The movie promises action, adventure, and entirely not enough Donnie Yen beatin’ up on Stormtroopers. For new fans, Rogue One is a call sign for the ship Jyn Erso and her companions use. For older fans it evokes memories and nostalgia. Walk with us, if you will, through the history of the Rogues.

The Beginning of the Rogues

Canonically, the Rogues (or Rogue Squadron) first appeared in-universe between the battle of Yavin, and the battle of Hoth. Built from the remnants of pilots during the battle of Yavin, the group became famed for its skill, and was the squadron rebel leaders called upon to conduct clandestine raids and strikes. We, the viewers, first hear of the Rogues during The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke Skywalker commands a team of snowspeeder pilots he calls “Rogue Group”. The radio drama version of the movie calls it “Rogue Flight.”

Timothy Zahn, he who gave us Admiral Thrawn, first coined “Rogue Squadron” in his novel Heir to the Empire. The Rogues became the focus of numerous expanded universe works, such as the novels by author Michael A. Stackpole, as well as his series of comics from Dark Horse. LucasArts and Factor 5 made three Rogue Squadron video games: “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron” for the Nintendo 64 and computer in 1998, “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader” and “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike” came out in 2001 and 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube.

After Disney announced the title of the first Star Wars anthology movie, many speculated about how much the story would take from the expanded universe. While the Rogues we’re going to see in the movie seem to function in the same space—a group of the best for special missions—the mission to find the plans for the Death Star is far earlier than most sources say the Rogues first appeared. Hopefully the movie will make some effort to meld our old universe with this brave new one.

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Qui-Gon Jinn Character Corner

Qui-Gon JinnThe man who got everything started for the Star Wars saga was Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn. It was he who first found young Anakin Skywalker, and took him to see the Jedi Council. Even though the Council saw a great deal of hate and anger, Qui-Gon encouraged them to admit the boy. Jinn was a maverick Jedi, one who was often in conflict with both the Jedi code and the high council, yet played a vital role in the legacy of the Jedi.

Born 92 years before the Battle of Yavin, Qui-Gon Jinn was from an unidentified planet and taken as an infant to train as a Jedi, as almost all are. Count Dooku took him as his apprentice at age ten thanks to a display of lightsaber skills. At the end of his apprenticeship, Dooku told Qui-Gon his one weakness: compassion for all life. He warned Qui-Gon betrayal was inevitable.

After becoming a Jedi Knight, Qui-Gon resisted taking a Padawan learner, stating he didn’t think he was ready. He discovered a boy named Xanatos who later became his Padawan. Years later, Qui-Gon, Xanatos, Qui-Gon’s longtime friend Tahl, and another Jedi traveled back to Xanatos’ homeworld, where his father, Crion, had become an evil tyrant. Crion tempted Xanatos, but Qui-Gon killed his student’s father to protect the life of another. Xanatos, enraged, attacked Qui-Gon, branding himself, and falling to the dark side. Xanatos escaped, and Qui-Gon, dismayed at his failure, announced he would take no more Padawans as apprentices.

Nine years later, Jedi Master Yoda encouraged him to find another padawan. Obi-Wan Kenobi was weeks away from his thirteenth birthday. He would become part of the Agricultural Corps unless a Jedi took his as a Padawan. Qui-Gon considered this a waste of talent, and Kenobi was quick to help their troubled transport. Qui-Gon’s mission took him to Bandomeer, where he found out Xanatos ruled. Though he tried to send Kenobi to his intended destination, Kenobi arrived in the nick of time to save Qui-Gon from his old student. Now master and apprentice, the two would battle Xanatos several more times before Xanatos committing suicide.

In 41 BBY (Before the battle of Yavin) Qui-Gon and the Jedi Tahl realized a mutual attraction for each other. They decided to obey the Jedi code and not act on their feelings, however. Qui-Gon began to have visions of Tahl in potentially fatal circumstances, and he offered to accompany her on her next mission, which she turned down. When the council lost contact with her, he and Obi-Wan decided to look for her. They found her trying to infiltrate a group responsible for kidnapping and ransoming leaders’ children, and her cover was swiftly blown. Tahl was kidnapped, and the leader of the group, Balog, paralyzed her inside a sensory deprivation device to deter the Jedi. Though he defeated Balog, Tahl passed away with Qui-Gon at her side.

His friend’s death prompted a terrifying change in Qui-Gon Jinn. He swore revenge on Balog, and stopped at nothing to him and the rest of his group down. It was only when he heard the voice of Tahl telling him to stop did he realize the destructive path he was taking. Though he remained on the light side of the force, his personality changed dramatically after Tahl’s death. He and the Jedi council clashed during this period leading up to the battle of Naboo and the events of Episode I. This prompted his adoption of Anakin Skywalker as an apprentice against their wishes.

Behind the Scenes

Liam Neeson portrays the character in Episode I, though George Lucas had toyed with the idea of making him younger. Neeson’s voice is used in Episode II, and was going to be in Episode III before the scene was cut. A rumor among Star Wars fans is a piece of fabric draped across a piece of furniture in Episode IV is meant to be the same gray poncho his master wears in Episode I, though it is unconfirmed.

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Grand Admiral Thrawn Character Corner

Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn

The Galactic Empire had no shortage of brilliant commanders and leaders, but one name stands above the rest. He is Mitth’raw’nuruodo, better known . . . as Thrawn. This Chiss tactician nearly destroyed the New Republic years after Emperor Palpatine died, and was close to returning the Empire to its previous stature before his death. Thrawn first appeared in the Star Wars novel Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, the first book of the Thrawn trilogy. In this Character Corner we’ll show you the history – and bloody end – of this Imperial warlord.


Born as a commoner, Thrawn was deemed a worthy adoptee of one of the Chiss ruling families, the Mitth, and gained ranks quickly in the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force. At twenty-seven years before the battle of Yavin, Thrawn became the youngest force commander of the Expansionary fleet ever. Soon he would come in contact with a starship sent by the galactic republic to explore unknown space, including the zone of the galaxy where the Chiss battled the aliens that would later be known as the Yuuzhan Vong. Thrawn was put into contact with Darth Sidious, and destroyed the Republic’s ship.

Some years later, after Sidious emerged as Palpatine and began his rule of the new Galactic Empire, Thrawn engineered his own downfall in order to leave the Chiss force and join Palpatine. Despite the Empire’s anti-alien agenda, Thrawn quickly gained a command rank thanks to an innate tactical genius, though he would not become a high-ranking office until after the Battle of Yavin. During much of his time, he would secretly explore the Unknown Region of space, establishing a military state called the Empire of the Hand and a secret base named the Hand of Thrawn.

Made Grand Admiral in 2 ABY, Thrawn spent most of that period on Coruscant, dealing with the politics of the position. He feigned defeat by Palpatine in political posturing to continue both of their goals of exploring the unknown parts of the galaxy. He would return there several times, but shortly after he left for his last trip, Palpatine was defeated at the Battle of Endor.

Four years later, Thrawn returned to the known galaxy with an intention to destroy the New Republic and waged a final campaign to that end. Utilizing brilliant fleet tactics, elite clone warriors, and victory after victory, pushed the New Republic back and seemed unstoppable. He was ultimately betrayed by his previously-loyal bodyguard Rukh, when Rukh found that Thrawn was the one who machinated the oppression of the Noghri planet and people, of which Rukh is one. Zahn had a clone created that would take his place, but it was destroyed while still incubating.

Behind the Scenes:

Timothy Zahn’s trilogy marked a new era in the expanded universe. Zahn has said that several real-life characters were combined, such as Erwin Rommel, Robert E. Lee, and even Sherlock Holmes. Zahn has said that he would be willing to create another clone if the desire was there. It was even suspected early in Episode VII’s development that Thrawn would be the new trilogy’s villain, but this has clearly been disproved.

Thrawn and Palpatine
Thrawn and Palpatine

We hope you’ve enjoyed the information about this Expanded Universe character. Come back next week for more cool information!